Scandanavia: Games goose Nordic ratings

STOCKHOLM — Pubcasters in the Nordic region, such as Finland’s YLE, Sweden’s SVT and Norway’s NRK, got off to a flying start this year with broadcasts of the Winter Olympics, the Games attracting around 40% of the population on a number of occasions.

Following the Olympics, Scandi TV schedules are back to normal with the competition between the major broadcasters reignited.

While local fare is hot in the region, imports are becoming increasingly vital as a competitive device between the networks. Scandinavian TV execs agree that high-quality drama imports are essential for high ratings.

In Sweden, the American dominance of the schedules is evident. Commercial stations TV3 and TV4 both launched their most extensive marketing campaigns ever this season for “Prison Break,” starring Swedish native Peter Stormare, and “Commander in Chief,” respectively.

Although “Commander in Chief” has turned out to be less successful than TV4’s current hits “Lost” and “Medium,” head of acquisition Clara Scherman still believes in the series. Apart from hoping to pick up the next season of “Lost”, her shopping list includes broad drama series, documentaries and factual programming.

Local entertainment has done extremely well for SVT. For example, programming for the Eurovision Song Contest is breaking audience records.

SVT’s new drama imports include “Veronica Mars,” which, according to acquisition exec Per Ogren, has underperformed so far. What works best is what Ogren calls “British garden detective stories” such as “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries” and “Waking the Dead” as well as Yank series “Without a Trace.”

If Ogren’s wish list gets fulfilled, coming attractions on SVT — including the most recent season of “The Sopranos” and thriller drama “Sleeper Cell” — will be combined with a comedy series; an artistic, high-profile series similar to historically themed “Heimat 3”; more detective stories; and a teen series.

TOP 3 SHOWS:

1. Eurovision Song Contest, SVT1

2. “Pa sparet,” SVT1

3. “Let’s Dance,” TV4

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